Well, the three children pose a problem. The shelf life of child actors is short. I think we’d have to do a talent search for kids just the right age. If we could go back in time, I would pick Elijah Wood, best known for Lord of the Rings. He starred in a movie called Radio Flyer in 1991. That film has elements that are similar to those in Adventures in Nowhere, and Wood did a good job of reacting to them. Alfred Bagley could be played by Seth Green. As a kid he had the ears for it and was a good actor, playing Woody Allen as a child in Radio Days. Abigail Arnold might be played by Tatum O’Neal. She showed that she could handle a cheeky part in Paper Moon. I think Al Gallagher, the proprietor of Al’s Swap Shop might be well played by Ed Harris. He has a good plain-but-charismatic quality.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
I enjoy doing what writing does that cannot be done by movies, TV, or stage, which is move the reader into a character’s mind and efficiently provide background, as in the following passage.
“At his mother’s unexpected touch, Alfred leaped up, shouted “Oh my God!” and immediately covered his mouth. Nothing could be seen of his face except his terror–filled eyes. Danny recognized the earth-shaking overtones of this event. The word “God” had come out of Alfred’s mouth in an ungodly context. The Bagleys were very strict about language. Once, when Danny had called Alfred a “lucky dog,” Mrs. Bagley had said that he should call him a “lucky duck” instead. Danny never got the distinction, but he knew that in the Bagley world, what Alfred had just said was verging on blasphemy.”
A movie could do well with the physical action in the scene, but it could not interpret the action from Danny’s perspective or supply the quick example of how prudish the Bagley’s are about language.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
The writing itself is enjoyable to me. I don’t agonize over it or suffer from writer’s block. I start feeling the agony during the editing process. I don’t mind having my mechanics corrected, but I feel an intense sense of failure when my wording or my clarity is questioned.